How to start cocoa exporting business in Nigeria and get international buyers online [Guide]

This guide would give you a broad overview on the cocoa exporting business in Nigeria, and get international buyers online.

Cocoa is an important cash crop in Nigeria. It is the highest non-oil export in the country.

The cocoa market is estimated to hit 24.25 billion USD in 2024.

Cocoa business is still considered under explored, and there’s enough room for more business people to make good money. While Africa dominates the world in cocoa production with over 70%, Africa is missing in the wealth in cocoa value addition, with just less than 5 percent market share.

As a country in desperate need to diversify its economy, this is one business you can venture into knowing the country need you eventually.

So are you ready to get started?

Let’s delve right in…

Introduction on cocoa

Cocoa, also called cacao tree, is an evergreen plant popularly cultivated to harvest its edible and rich cocoa seeds.

The cocoa seed is the major ingredient used in the production of chocolate liquor, chocolate solids, chocolate butter, and chocolate.

Cacao is a member of the family of malvaceae with its origin from the tropical rainforest area of central and southern America.

Cacao tree usually takes 3-5 years to grow it’s seeds. At maturation, cocoa pods are plucked off the tree and broken to extract the cocoa seeds. Each cocoa seed(also called cocoa beans) comprise of a seed coat, a kernel, and a germ.

Favourable Conditions for Cultivating Cocoa

In cultivating cocoa tree, you need the following conditions in your favour:

Temperature and weather conditions

Cacao trees are favorably grown in regions having about 27°C in average annual temperature, and an Annual rainfall of 150 to 350 cm.

Protection from Strong Winds

Strong winds often blow off unripe pods, and this can lead to waste and low yields for the farmers. Hence it is important to put measures in place to curtail such occurrence. As a typical example, Hurricanes can also cause huge damage to cocoa trees as seen in the West Indies and Central America.

Good covering from direct sunlight

It is encouraged as good practice to protect the cocoa tree from direct sunlight as it can cause pores on the cocoa pots. Planting of other crops to provide good covering from sunlight is a good practice.

Varieties of cocoa tree

The three main varieties of cocoa

Forastero

They are mainly known as the common cocoa as they are 95% of world production. The pods are short, yellow, smooth without warts, with shallow furrows. Their quality is not as good as Criollo. They are grown mainly in west Africa and Brazil. It is grown a lot in Africa.

 Criollo

Criollos are typically protruded, yellow or red in color, with deep furrows and big warts when they are ripe. They are mainly known as the fine or aromatic cocoa because of their very good cocoa quality, and are less than 1% of world production. They are  grown mainly in Latin America.

Trinitario

They are a hybrid of the Forastero and the Criollo and considered a fairly good, fine flavour cocoa. They are approximately 5% of world production, and grown mainly in Trinidad, Venezuela, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, East Timor, Java and Madagascar.

Some interesting things to know about cocoa

  • Cocoa beans are rich in potassium, magnesium and iron.
  • Very rich in food value, cocoa beans contains up to 20% protein, 40% carbohydrate, and 40% fat.
  • Cocoa can prevent cancer and other heart , and blood related diseases as it contains theobromine, an alkaloid closely related to caffeine and phenols and flavenoids, antioxidants.

Cocoa in Nigeria

Agriculture was Nigeria’s main source of foreign exchange prior to independence. According to reports, 58.4% of the foreign exchange earnings from 1960 to 1970 was the export crop subsector of the agricultural sector.

Then came the discovery of oil in the 1970s which led to some drastic shift in the political and economic landscape of the country.

Oil became the main focus for foreign exchange, displacing agriculture, as evident in the sharp decline in output from 305,000, to 100,000MT, and Cocoa export contribution dropping to 5.3% from 1970-1985.

Although the 1986/87 cropping season saw output improved from previous lows to around 200,000MT due to Government intervention initiatives to revive the sector, the journey back to the top has been slow, maintaining an average of just 4% between 1980 and 2000. The country’s undying love story with oil has seen other sectors struggle over the years.

Nigeria is the third largest exporter of cocoa in Africa behind only Ghana and Cote’d’ivoire and the fifth in the world behind Cote’d’ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia, and Brazil, according to recent figures.

Tips

To run your farm here are some tips to help you:

  • Make good arrangements with farmers who’d be on ground to monitor your farm on a regular basis. You can look for good incentives for them. The best is if your farm is closer to a village settlement.
  • When getting your farm land, you want to look for areas you know wouldn’t be commercialized in the next 20-30 years.
  • Weed 3-4 times a year.
  • Always ensure carrying out best farming practices to achieve healthy yields.
  • Take some time in educating yourself on the best practices, and always look to transfer those knowledge to the farmers working with you.

Cocoa harvest seasons in Nigeria

Harvest season for cocoa span from October to September.

October to February as the prevalent period for harvest, while from April/May to September, harvesting of smaller and mild crops are common.

Where to find cocoa in Nigeria

Ondo State produces 70% of cocoa in Nigeria, making it the highest producer in the country. Here is a list of cocoa producers in the country, in no particular order:

  • Ondo
  • Osun
  • Oyo
  • Ekiti
  • Ogun
  • Edo
  • Delta
  • Akwa Ibom
  • Cross river
  • Kogi
  • Kwara
  • Abia
  • Anambra

Cocoa export supply chain in Nigeria

Every party involved in the supply chain play a key role in the overall business outlook of cocoa export in Nigeria.

These parties are:

  • Smallholder farmers
  • Middlemen
  • Exporters

The cocoa supply chain would typically start from local farmers; Small scale farmers are spread across the several cocoa producing states in Nigeria.

Each farm is about 2-5 hectares, and would produce on the average 0.6MT per hectare.

The farmers need steady and ready buyers to guarantee in-flow of cash to reinvest in their business, pay up immediate outstandings, loans and expenses.

Meanwhile the middlemen stand in the gap between the farmers and the exporters. They’re the aggregators. They source directly from the farmers and supply to the exporters in bulk.

Challenges facing Cocoa smallholder farmers in Nigeria.

These are the major challenges facing Nigerian cocoa farmers:

  • Lack of sufficient access to incentives and government support
  • Difficult access to market; poor road channels leading to high cost of transporting farm produce from farm to market
  • Increasing running cost of production
  • Less favourable climatic conditions; Climatic conditions now are far less favourable to that in the 70s and 80s.
  • Seasonality of cocoa farming means farmers do not make money during off seasons, and these periods can be challenging times for the farmers.

Challenges facing Cocoa exportation business in Nigeria.

  • Volatility and unpredictability of foreign exchange.
  • Dwindling number of smallholder farmers due to uninterested budding  youth, and interest in other endeavours they feel is much more profitable.
  • High interest rates, to get financial credits and loans
  • Unstable political will.
  • Difficult port and customs regulations
  • Governing bodies who are key players in the value chain have over the years failed in providing adaptation and workable systems and policies to ensure ease of doing export business.

Top cocoa exporting countries in Africa

  • Cote’d’ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Nigeria
  • Cameroun

Top importers of cocoa in the world

  • Netherlands
  • USA
  • Germany
  • Malaysia
  • Belgium
  • Indonesia
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Spain
  • Canada
  • Singapore

Top cocoa importers in Europe

  • Netherlands
  • Germany
  • Malaysia
  • Belgium
  • France
  • United Kingdom
  • Italy
  • Turkey
  • Spain

Governing organizations to follow as a cocoa exporter in Nigeria

  • The Nigerian Cocoa Association
  • World Cocoa Producers’ Organization
  • Cocoa Research Institute of Nigeria (CRIN)
  • Cocoa Framers Association of Nigeria
  • OWIT Nigeria

Opportunities in Cocoa Export Business

  • Surging global demand cocoa and cocoa futures, In 2011, the trading volume of cocoa futures on the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) was 4.95 million tons, exceeding production by 750,000 tons.
  • In November 2011, global sales of chocolate confectionery crossed US$100 billion for the first time, with consumer demand for chocolate anticipated to continue increasing and possibly outstripping supply.
  • Cocoa processing market is estimated at $200 billion.

Getting started with cocoa export business

Next we’ll look at the three steps to take to get started as a cocoa exporter

  1. Set up your business plan
  2. Promote your business
  3. Fulfilling your orders.

Setup your business plan

A key component in planning your business is knowing your strengths and weaknesses.

You should look at what you’re capable of as against what you’re incapable in terms of capital, resources, reach etc. This would give you an idea on how to go about structuring your plan to meet your business goals.

In your business plan questions you want clear answers to are:

  • How do I get customers?
  • How am I going to maintain  supply to my customers?
  • Am I owning my own farm or leasing or partnering smallholder farmers?
  • Who are my key partners to help me achieve my supplies and fulfill my orders?
  • Which technology can I leverage to achieve my goals?
  • How am I advertising my product? What methods would I be employing? If we’re talking about online advertising, should it be Paid ads vs free ads, or combination of both?

Bottom line? To stay profitable, what strategy would best work for you based on what you have vs what you don’t have?

Remember, you’re dealing with international buyers, they’d be most likely be sophisticated and your business has to be well planned and presented, backed with the right principles of course.

If everything is well planned, you can achieve success even without spending too much capital. Also remember, cocoa business is evergreen, one cocoa tree can last for 30 years, producing constantly once it’s matured. So the initial cost might feel or look too much, it gets better over time with good rewards to follow.

Now that your well-thought-through business plan is ready, the next step is to

Register your business with appropriate governing bodies.

Register your business 

Exportation business is a serious endeavor. A lot of risks are involved, so anything to help reduce the risk from the side of your buyers should be encouraged to win them over.

That’s why it is necessary to register your business with all necessary bodies.

Registering with these organizations is necessary. Some of them would give you necessary support like low interest loans, trade information and support to help your business grow.

The good part of this is most of these bodies are online, so you can start from there.

Start your business registration online by clicking on the following links:

CAC (Corporate Affairs Commission) – Start the registration of your business online. Give your business credibility and visibility by registering your business as a legitimate business in Nigeria because international buyers would mostly do business with verified businesses. Start here: https://pre.cac.gov.ng/register/new

Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC)

The NEPC rules over all other apex institutions involved in the promotion, development, and diversification of exports in Nigeria.

Their activities involve:

  • Co-ordinating and facilitating export development in the country
  • Facilitating export promotion activities
  • Working with international trade agencies on cooperation and capacity building.

You can visit their official website here: https://nepc.gov.ng/ereg/exporter.

Or go straight to register your business with them here: https://nepc.gov.ng/get-started/e-registration/

Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) Nigeria

Awesome for woman into international trade, you can join them and benefit a lot from partnering with international and local businesses, to getting low cost loans, and other wonderful benefits. You can read more on them and become a member here: https://owitnigeria.org/join-us/

Cost Analysis

Before we move ahead, let’s try to do a rough sketch of what it’d cost you to setup your cocoa export business.

Startup Expenses

Land(1 hectare) – N4M

Warehouse & drying facility- N2M

Laptop/desktop computer- N200,000

Cocoa seedlings – N210,000

Farm clearing and preparation- N30,000

Planting and workmanship- N100,000

Website building – N100,000

Promotion cost – N200,000

Registrations – N50,000

Packaging – N500,000

Transportation – N3M

Documentation- 50,000

Total = N9.34M

Monthly running cost estimation

Internet subscription – N10,000

Webpage maintenance – N30,000

Promotion costs – N200,000

Salaries –N250,000

Calls and communications-N5000

Office space- N10,000

Miscellaneous – N10,000

Total: N515,000

Other costs to consider is for custom brokerage and freight forwarding. Their costs arent fixed as it depends on several factors. But ensure to include them as variable costs.

What’s next?

If you’ve already set the ground running; you have your farm, business plan, registrations, and everything we’ve talked about so far up until now, I’m sure all you want is to be bombarded with calls from buyers, placing orders, and business booming.

Promote your cocoa business Online

How do you get international  buyers for your cocoa beans?

There are several ways. But we just cut to the chase and focus on our preferred way- the internet.

The internet is your fastest and most cost effective way to reach foreign buyers. It presents a mouth-watering prospect such that if gotten right, you can build an awesome, and well fulfilling business for yourself. 

Some Facts about the internet

  • More than 60% of the world’s population use the internet, that amounts to about 4.72billion people around the world [datareportal].
  • According to Netcraft, there are over 1 billion active sites on the web today and it’s number keeps changing every second.[Netcraft]
  • According to MOZ, Everyday, 77 percent of people use google at least three times to search for things online.
  • 54 percent of social users research products using social media [globalwebindex].

You can get your buyers online because people are using the internet to search for things to buy. The internet is one huge community, get plugged in.

What’s so beautiful is you don’t need to be a software guru to own and manage a website. You can outsource it.

Outsourcing is a fantastic way to leverage other people’s skills especially on something you’re not so good at, while you focus on other things.

To get buyers on the internet, you’d need an online presence. Your online presence just asks the question how easy and often are you found online? So to get started, here’s what you must do:

  1. Build a website/online store
  2. Manage the website
  3. Promote your website

What you need to build and run a website

  • Domain name
  • Hosting
  • Design
  • Maintenance

Website vs online store

Think of your website like a well prepared business card, only that it has much more details in it, and your online store is a brochure that contains your products and price listing.

If for you, the internet is a vital avenue to getting buyers then you might be doing yourself a disservice by choosing to use one over the other.

It’s all about online presence. Let your business be out there as possible, given it’s within your budget.

WebsiteOnline Store
You own the websiteYou’re renting a website within another person’s/company’s website
It can take lots of time and effort for buyers to see your products on google search.It takes little time to get customers to see your products on google search as your store is within a bigger website that’s well ranked on google search engine.
It would cost you lots of time and effort to build your brandIt can help you build your brand faster online
If done expertly, you might spend little and get free buyers and customersIt can be capital intensive, however if done properly, is worth every penny spent.
Table to compare having a stand-alone website vs running online marketplace store

In promoting your website and business online, there are two methods:

Organic method

You can get buyers without having to spend any money, this method can take time but is really worth the while if done properly. The best approach to this is giving something of value, and getting traffic as reward. You’d be focusing on ranking for relevant keywords that lead people to clicking your link to your website or web store. You then sell your products to the visitors of your website.

But it’s not so easy, because there are billions of websites out there competing for your prospects’ attention, hence the need to tilt the odds in your favour by ranking at least on the first page of searches relevant to your business.

Remember, the aim is to make the first page of google search.

Why?

According to this survey conducted by MOZ, 75 percent respondents preferred to click one of the top two results. They’d prefer to scan through the first search page to find relevant answers to their queries, or link to other results from page one.

Another interesting findings from the survey was respondents largely preferred to click on organic search results than click on advertisement.

Paid method

This is another route to making first page on relevant keywords on search engines. Advertisers bid on keywords and they pay per click once browsers get to your website through your link from the search page.

This requires you to have a good budget, and expertise to get good results. Results can be instant if done expertly.

you can advertise on:

Search engines

Search engines like Google, and Yahoo have Google ads, and Yahoo ads.  Advertisers bid for keywords, they pay per click once there’s a click on your link to your website or online store.

Other people’s website

You, or advertisers like Google and Yahoo can pay owners of particular websites to advertise on their platform. Owners of websites are then paid each time there’s a view on your ads displayed on that website. This is called pay per impression or pay per view.

Social media

Social media helps you connect with people on a personal level. You can really make a good impression of your business by having a good social media presence that connects with the people.

Take clean pictures, engage in quality conversations on relevant topics, showcase your expertise as a thought leader in your business.

Be creative.

Facts about social media

There’s been a staggering number of social media users in the world. Reports show there are over 3.5 billion active users.[emarsys, 2019]

Statistics show that one person spends 3 hours on average on social media everyday.

[globalwebindex]

Your task is to maintain steady flow of buyers while also building a brand people can trust through good farming practices and quality online presence.

Tips

  • Make sure you understand the nitty-gritty of running an online ads campaign, if you don’t, hire someone or outsource professionals to run for you.
  • In the case of advertising with a particular website, make sure you do your findings on the website to ensure their kind of visitors are the kind who can buy your product.
  • Your website should contain the following:
    • Company name
    • Vision and mission statements and a little bit about you. Eg when it was founded, your partners, your present customers, etc.
    • Description of your business values
    • Your products and production capacity
    • Production description
    • Email and contact information

Order fulfillment and getting paid

To export your goods, most exporters make use of freight forwarders, and custom brokers as they make lives easy for them. These are specialists in moving goods to different places in the world, and also handling of custom related issues.

Tips

  • Ensure your cocoa is exported in well ventilated cool, and dry conditions to ensure the beans can arrive at buyer’s destination without blemish.
  • Never agree on any agreements until you’ve agreed on payment method
  • Depending on your negotiation skills, your buyer can bear part of the shipping cost. Of course this would only work if there’s the element of trust in the equation.
  • If the relationship is not strong enough, buyers would most likely prefer a POD (payment on delivery) arrangement. If that be the case, it’s not a bad idea to request the buyer make down payment to show they’re serious about doing business with you.
  • In finding a freight forwarder, you should look out for those with good experience in shipping cocoa to your buyer’s location.
  • In your agreement with your buyer, ensure pricing is factored in. In Nigeria, the futures commodity exchange is still a concept the government is looking to support exportation in the country. Futures contracts can help buyers and sellers mitigate risk that occurs due to currency fluctuation. So you can agree with your buyer to peg your commodity price based on current global price such that if it changes in the future, you don’t incur loss.
  • Know your rights as an exporter to any country. It’s possible some of these foreign buyers can take you for a ride if you don’t know what’s within your rights as an exporter to their country, issues like what happens if your buyer decides to cancel their order last minute? Surely you shouldn’t bear the loss for that.

 You can visit the NEPC guide to get more information on logistics and freight https://nepc.gov.ng/get-started/logistics-freights/

Now that we’ve come to the end of this guide, we know not everything on this post can be assimilate once, so you can bookmark this and come back to it in the future. Feel free to drop your questions and comments on this topic.

Case Study: How i made over N200,000 in two months selling El-glittas Hair Wonder and 4 reasons I like selling Nigerian locally-made products in my online business

Case study:

Elglitas Hair Wonder cream and Oil

The first time I saw this product I had my doubts – will it be good enough? will it fly? Until I started selling and made over N200,000 in two weeks.

How it started

One day I saw a merchant ship about 20 units of the item- that moment I said to myself I have start selling this product on my online store too. The next day, I got one for myself to feel how the product works; and right there and then, I thought to myself: this is a unique product I can sell; The product is in line with the kind of products I like to sell online: Elglittas Hair Wonder provides good solution(hair growth solution and hair loss prevention), had a profit margin of over 300% as it was hot selling at the time, and it is easy to source (as it was made in Nigeria)- so I jumped in.

I quickly inquired how much I could get it from supplier. It happened I could get at a very good price of N1000 (all costs inclusive) each.

I then sold online for N3500-N4000.

As it is with selling things online, you can place very good mark-up on newly introduced products online and quickly make huge profit (before other online merchants discover what you sell and start competing with price) – and by the way, as I write this, you can get this online for as low as N1,200 on most online marketplaces in Nigeria.

In all, I racked up sales of over 150pcs in two weeks, which resulted in over N300, 000 in revenue.

5 reasons I like selling Made in Nigeria locally made products

Looking back on my experience with elglittas Hair Wonder, I would like to draw some key points about selling products locally made in Nigeria, here goes:

  1. You can get better bargain from suppliers in Nigeria because you won’t have to take so much time to connect well with them.

Nothing can take the place of doing business face to face.

Most times you may not get the best bargain from your supplier until you meet with them face to face. Communicating face to face help build meaningful and stronger business relationships.

See this article on body language and how it can help you in bargaining with your suppliers for good deals that would benefit your business

In my case with Hair Wonder, the arrangement was pay-before-supply (I had no problem with that as it was quite cheap to get the supplies I wanted per time), but I’ve had lots of my suppliers supply me and I pay later because they know me one on one. They have assessed my personality and feel they can trust me- such bonds can be achieved when you meet suppliers face to face.

So except you have enough money for flight and other expenses to go to other countries to meet supplier, you might want to do a research on good Made in Nigeria products you can source online and start selling

  1. You can find it easy to transact business and communicate well with a Nigerian supplier

You have to communicate with your supplier one way or another. You have to tell them what you want, how many quantity, what quality and at what price. There are some of my suppliers in China who I wished they understood English; Most times I use translators online to communicate what I want (and that is not sufficient in all cases).

You might have problem getting good deals if you can’t communicate effectively in the language they understand. It can be stressful and also increases transaction time.

My transactions with Nigerian suppliers take me 1-2days to wrap up; and I communicate perfectly with them to get the best deals I want.

  1. You don’t have to deal with clearing and other freight logistics issues:

Your supplier residing in Aba or any other place in Nigeria means you do not have to worry about freight and other importing logistics headache that encroach into your profit. You want to as much as possible reduce your cost of getting your products so you can have a flexible pricing strategy. Often times, while I get the unit cost of an item very cheap from China; I pay a lot in clearing and handling before the item gets to me.

Your item cost price + shipping and handling cost helps determine your cost of getting your product to you. In the case of my Nigerian suppliers, cost per unit cost might be high but I do not spend much getting my item to me. I do not worry about shipping cost or other clearing issues.

  1. It gives me sense of contributing my quota to the development of our great Nation Nigeria.

Selling these products help me have a sense of belonging.

It shows I’m in tune with the tides of change coming in Africa. I believe there’s so much Africa can offer this world. My online business keeps confirming to me that Africa can compete on the global market. We just need more exposure. The more Nigerians patronize made-in-Nigeria products, we can begin to appreciate ourselves and believe we can do it. We can sustain ourselves… we can feed the world.

Recommendations

With internet, we see so many new products every day, and we see locally made products paraded more often now online. I would like to see more, and we can do that by having more products from manufacturers and suppliers. Having a place where one can easily source online for suppliers of locally made products in Nigeria.

Online merchants can easily scroll through list of suppliers to contact them, inquire and place order.

Manufacturers and suppliers can have a stronger presence online so as to be located easily. And they have a medium to unleash their new products into the market for customers to see.

In conclusion, doing trade international can be very hectic. As much as possible, you can avoid them. Although I sell imported products, I also make sure my eyes are open out there to locate locally made products to pounce on and make good money.

What about you? What other made in Nigerian products have you sold very well online? What have you learnt selling them? You can add in the comments below.

5 hacks on how to stay profitable in your online business in Nigeria

The bread and butter of any business is to make profit- what then is it if not to be profitable? As a typical small business owner in Nigeria, selling online is another avenue to further get more customers for what you sell. However selling online is quite different from the usual way you run your brick ‘n’ mortal store. To stay profitable in your online business, you have to master these 5 hacks to stay profitable. Well let’s get to it right away.

Master your pricing mechanism

Whenever you talk profitability, you must talk pricing. They go hand in hand. The price you slam on an item should cover for the cost plus your gain- if not, what else are you in the business for? Your price keep you up there competing with your competitors. This is key especially in the online marketplace world. It is important for you to master the several types of pricing mechanisms. This would help you have a pricing strategy that can always make you win in your business transactions.

Deal with two to three suppliers

In this game, you want to have options. Depending too much on one supplier can affect the profitability of your business. Having two to three suppliers gives you flexibility to source products for your utmost benefit. Part of what you’re looking for is how prompt is your suppliers to meet your orders? Are they giving you best price? All these affect the profitability of your business.

One very important point why you’re better off having more than one supplier is you can have better chance of always having products in stock as opposed to depending solely one which can fail you a times; if one runs out of stock, you can always fall back on another.

Always reinvent your online marketing strategy

More sales lead to more profit. To keep the sales coming regularly, you need to be abreast with trends and new internet marketing practices to help you get in more sales.

Investigate what others are doing now to get in more customers, how can you copy or do better. Always keep your ears and eyes open for the slightest information that can help your business. Visit blogs and forums to see what other people are doing or saying. Be smart and creative in your execution.

Always have budget for publicity

Most merchants In Nigeria are so blindly looking for free things. Yea I know in the world of internet there are a lot of free things. But if you base your business only on things that cost you nothing, you most likely would only remain on the average. Spending money to get money is the way to make more money in the online business. Get your books and calculate it out.

Sell across several online marketplace

Today, there are quite a number of online ecommerce and marketplace in Nigeria. Aside from the top guys like Jumia.com, Konga.com and olx.com, dealdey.com, a lot more online marketplaces are fast growing too like jiji.ng, cokodeal.com,  vconnect.com etc. What this means is a lot more opportunity for you to expose your products to thousands of customers, depending on your offerings. The more you sell at the right price, the more you make more money and the more profit increases.

Business is mostly about rolling your sleeves and getting down to work hard to get results. Ecommerce in Nigeria is fast growing, new concepts springing up every day. Get your pen and paper and calculate out what moves you need to make to get your business regularly profitable. Get your strategy right and always socialize.

That’s it for now guys.

If you have any question, leave a comment.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

How should I start my ecommerce business? Pitfalls and guides.

The internet has played a huge role in the revolution of business in this era. Old ways of reaching customers and conducting business operations has evolved over the years. Things have become more automated. Businesses have had to drastically adjust to the new system of running their business, they’ve embraced the fact that it would be a loss to their business to be against this revolution. So while others have successfully adjusted or plunged in to this technology with their business, some have not had that much success. There are also those who are on the brink of joining the train however not so sure what to expect and how to get started. This post would help put this confusion into perspective.

Is going online for my business?

That’s the question some business people ask themselves. Some in this same line include: how can I tap into the resources of the internet? What do I need to get my business online? What can getting my business online bring to my business bottom-line? Before you even start, you should understand the usefulness of the internet and how it can boost your sales. The internet gives everybody a level playing ground. This means you can compete on same level with big giants like Samsung, Sony etc so long as you have your products to sell. If you can convince your customers enough that what you sell is good deal, you can make good sales for yourself. The internet breaks the walls of separation amongst geographical regions- making the world a one global unit. It’s so easy to locate a seller somewhere in China and you have your products shipped to your doorsteps in Nigeria or anywhere in the world. What this means to your business is; whatever you sell can be viewed by anybody in the world wherever they are so long as they have internet connection. Whatever you sell, there are technological applications that help make it easy for you to meet customers online. So to help put this into proper perspective. You want to ask yourself; what do you sell? Who do you intend to sell to? Who are your customers? Are these set of people the kind you can find online? If so, how do you find them online? These questions would help you a lot in deciding if selling online is right for your business and also how best to get your products in front of them.

This leads to the next question:

How much would it Cost to sell online?

To consider online as a medium to expand sales comes with cost. So are you ready for the cost it can bring? There are a lot of things to think about like the skill set needed to managing and running your online store for example. Do you need to get someone else to do this for you? How much would internet connection cost? How much for publicity and promotion of your offers? All these must be factored in when you’re planning your business to go online. Let it be clear to you how much you would spend as fixed and variable costs and see if it is something you can do.  There’s the dilemma of running your own ecommerce store where you put in a lot of resources (Which requires large resources) vs creating an ecommerce store with a store provider where you can promote your products on their marketplace in which some of these online store providers like cokodeal.com, konga.com, vconnect.com etc charge little for uploading items on their platforms but they do huge publicity for their subscribers which help the subscribers make more sales.

Are there other hidden costs? Issues like returns, order cancellations in transactions disputes can be a torn in the flesh for sellers. How prepared is your business to handle and withstand unforeseen situations like these ones? Given it’s your responsibility to satisfy your customers, How far can you go to do that? These are some of the questions to help give you birds’-eye view of how to setup for doing business online.

There are loads of benefits with leveraging ecommerce for your business, however focusing majorly on the benefits without actually having a clear picture on how much it can cost you can lead to serious mistake on the long run. This understanding would help anyone who wants to get their business online to know what they’re getting into.

 

10 things customers say they want and can make you a top seller

 

Are you new to business or aiming to grow your business? From a research here is what we found out that differentiates top sellers from the rest? According to a research by the Rain Group, buyers reveal why they prefer buying from some sellers over the others:

#1 ‘Educated me with new ideas or perspectives’
Your customers wouldn’t need any help if they could figure it out themselves- in fact even if they had a solution handy, they probably would want to explore other solutions and see which is best for them. Providing customers with innovative ideas and perspective to solving their problems is what top seller do expertly according to research and that’s what any seller should do to boost sales. Some business people create blog posts, some e-books or short videos to proffer new ideas or perspectives to solving certain problems.

#2 ‘Collaborated with me’

Customers don’t want to be seen as those being coined out of their money. When customers come to you for solution, they don’t want to be left out of the action. They have a taste of what they want, how they want to be served, do well to listen to them and give them what they want.

#3 ‘Persuaded me we would achieve results’

Customers wants to know if you can deliver. It is your responsibility to prove to her you can deliver and that you can provide the results she wants. Provide every necessary information is possible to lay your claim. Show samples, customer reviews and ratings.

#4 ‘Listened to me’

How do you know how to solve a problem when you don’t know the problem in the first place? The only way to understand a customer’s problem is to listen carefully to them and try sieve out relevant information- as a matter of fact your customers most times don’t know what they want; it is you who needs to be attentive to know the main pain-points and the best solution to meet their need; and this comes by attentive listening to your customers.

#5 ‘Understood my needs’

The moment you can understand her needs, she is confident she has you to always talk to when problems come, and lastly, You should always let your customers know you understand her problems, this also boosts her confidence in you that you’re listening and connect well with her.

#6 ‘Helped me avoid potential pitfalls’

Helping your customers escape imminent pitfalls can win you loyal customers anytime- it works magic! When you see your business as a place where customers can get solution for their problems(not minding if you have to refer your customers to other sellers), your customers can be sure to come back to you to patronize you when they have a problem. This helps build trust that you can always solve their problems (and in some cases places you as a thought leader in your field) whenever they come in contact with your business.

#7 ‘Crafted a compelling solution’

Providing the best solution wouldn’t cut it, rather a providing a compelling solution would make you a top seller every time. What makes a solution compelling isn’t features or attractiveness- or even in how much benefit your customers can get, but in how accurate your solution can meet customers pain-points. proffering a compelling solution can only come when you understand what the customers want.

#8 ‘Depicted purchasing process accurately’

How smooth have you made the purchase process for your customers and is the purchase process exactly as you depicted to your customers? don’t surprise your customers with hidden processes which can drag or frustrate their purchase process.Let them know before-hand what to expect as they through the process. Finally, Much more than ever, do well to make the purchase process easy and simple as much as possible.

#9 ‘Connected with me personally’

Sales experts have shown over the years that we make our buying decisions largely through emotions. Top sellers do well to connect with their customers emotionally. They listen, understand and connect personally with their customers. They know their customers by name, send mails and complementary greetings to their customers. This helps their customers trust them that much more than the money, the sellers are interested in them and their success.

#10 ‘Overall value from the company is superior to other options’

There would always be competition out there. Your ability to differentiate your business is key; you do this not by listing numerous benefits but the quality of value your customers receive when in contact with your business. Your customers must be able to perceive the quality they receive from your business as superior to other options.